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Dustin Poirier prepares for his lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira of Brazil during the UFC 269 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Dustin Poirier prepares for his lightweight title fight against Charles Oliveira of Brazil during the UFC 269 event at T-Mobile Arena on December 11, 2021 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images via AFP.

A potential firefight between elite lightweights is on the main card Saturday night when Dustin Poirier exchanges violent pleasantries with Michael Chandler at UFC 281. Read on for our Poirier-Chandler UFC picks and predictions.

A former interim-lightweight UFC champion, Poirier was never able to remove that “interim” tag. He first lost a title bout to retired division overlord Khabib Nurmagomedov, followed by a failed attempt to wrest the title away from Charles Oliveira. Sandwiched between those bouts, “The Diamond” proved his bonafide status as an elite 155-pounder by notching a pair of victories over former two-division champion Conor McGregor, and a dominant win over Dan Hooker.

Like Poirier, Chandler is a certified killer at 155 pounds. After multiple title triumphs in Bellator, Chandler was immediately thrown into the deep end upon his UFC debut, racking up scintillating stoppage victories over Tony Ferguson and the aforementioned Hooker. However, he took losses against fellow top-five lightweights Justin Gaethje and then-champion Oliveira.

While an emphatic, violent stoppage victory wouldn’t necessarily vault the winner into an immediate title bout, it would definitely put him on the short-list (especially Chandler, since he never faced Nurmagomedov, whose style closely matches current champion Islam Makhachev).

With that in mind, here are our top picks for Poirier vs. Chandler at UFC 281 (odds via DraftKings Sportsbook and FanDuel Sportsbook; pick confidence based on a 1-to-5-star scale).

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Poirier vs. Chandler Fight Info

Date/Time: Saturday, Nov. 12, 10 p.m. ET (main card)
TV: PPV, ESPN+
Location: Madison Square Garden, New York City, NY

Poirier vs. Chandler Odds

(via DraftKings)

MarketPoirierChandler
Moneyline-215 (bet $215 to win $100)+185 (bet $100 to win $185)
Over/UnderOver 1.5 (-140)Under 1.5 (+110)

Poirier vs. Chandler Picks

Who Will Win Poirier vs. Chandler?

Poirier (-210) ★★★★

This pick is as much about Chandler’s weaknesses and patterns as it is about Poirier’s strengths. To say that Chandler hits hard is a bit of an understatement. The man hits like a Mack truck carrying dynamite and loose matches, and as such, he often eschews a smart, wrestling-based game plan in favor of absolute war. Poirier hits hard, too, and he’s the better, more patient, and more accurate boxer. That’ll be the key to “Diamond’s” victory.

Poirier has a strong enough chin to weather Chandler’s early storm, and he’ll eventually stay at range and pick his tiring opponent apart. If Chandler abandons his rock ‘em, sock ‘em robots style for one where he deftly mixes his wrestling with boxing, then he definitely has a shot, but he hasn’t done that against his top-tier UFC opponents. I don’t see him adopting that game plan on Saturday night.

Poirier vs. Chandler Over/Under Pick

Over 1.5 rounds (-130) ★★★★

Sure, both men possess venomous finishing ability and can end the fight in an instant, but that might be undone by their mutual ability to take a punch. Chandler and Poirier have survived some hellacious punches from the likes of Gaethje, and have faced the absolute tippy-top the division has to offer. Neither of them will go down quietly into the night.

Poirier averages over 10 minutes (two rounds) of cage time per fight, while Chandler sits at 7:16 (14 seconds shy of a round and a half), and as such, I expect this one to reach the latter half of the second stanza.

Poirier vs. Chandler Winning Method Pick

Poirier to win By KO, TKO, DQ, or submission (+120) ★★★★

Poirier is a Swiss Army Knife of violence. Twenty-one of his 28 career victories ended via stoppage, with 15 coming via KO/TKO, while the others have been submissions. Other sportsbooks offer the TKO/KO separately from the submission, but I think the best value comes with rolling all of the stoppage methods into one bet.

If you want an absolute war, Chandler’s your huckleberry, and that’ll ultimately be his undoing. “Iron” likes to go out on his shield, as evidenced by his four career KO/TKO losses, and he’ll do it again Saturday night.

Poirier will survive some serious heat, and dish out some punishment of his own before finally landing a few thunderous coffin nails and finishing off Chandler at some point late in the second, or early in the third round.

Where to Bet on Poirier vs. Chandler Picks

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Poirier-Chandler picks made 11/11/2022 at 10:43 a.m. ET.